1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set

The arrival of Hot Wheels in late 1967 meant that we now had cars that could “GO”.  And putting all that “GO” to work meant the cars needed some place to run.  Thankfully, Mattel gave us track at the same time.  It came in sets and it was also offered as “Add-On Accessories”.

The "Add-On Accessories" page of the 1968 Hot Wheels Collectors' Catalogue.

The “Add-On Accessories” page of the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

With this page…

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors' Catalogue.

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

…I’m going to build a custom track.

The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

Starting Gate.

Starting Gate.

The Split part.

The Split part.

And the Finish Gate.

And the Finish Gate.

Here’s what a race down this track looks like.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

Full charge out of the gate.

Full charge out of the gate.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Who's ahead?

Who’s ahead?

Across the finish line. This race is done.

Across the finish line. This race is done.

For my YouTube video of this track, I’m going to run 4 late model Corvettes.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

See which ‘Vette comes out on top in my YouTube video.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Half Curve Drag Set.

The half curve pak was first sold in 1968.  Each pak included 2 banked 90 degree curves.

Half Curve 10

Box art – front.

1968 Box art - back.

1968 Box art – back.

1969 Box art - back. Canadian version.

1969 Box art – back. Canadian version.

This time I am going to use 2 sets of Half Curve Paks and make a custom drag strip.

Gravity start.

Gravity start.

Two half curve sets. The first set adheres to some particle board to reduce track movement.

Two half curve sets. The first set adheres to some particle board to reduce track movement.

And a finish gate at the end.

And a finish gate at the end.

Here’s a run down the Half Curve drag strip.

A green 1968 COPO Camaro and a purple 1971 Dodge Demon at the start.

A green 1968 COPO Camaro and a purple 1971 Dodge Demon at the start.

They're off!

They’re off!

Hard into the first set of curves.

Hard into the first set of curves.

Racing 'round the second set of curves.

Racing ’round the second set of curves.

Charging down the final straightaway.

Charging down the final straightaway.

And the winner is.......

And the winner is…….

Check out the Half Curve Drag Set action on my YouTube site:

So there you have it. A custom track; the 1968 Hot Wheels Half Curve Drag Set. It’s still fast. Still fun.

Close-up of 1969 box art - back.

Close-up of 1969 box art – back.

Close-up of track instructions.

Close-up of track instructions.

Box art - end.

Box art – end.

1968 Hot Wheels Full Curve Drag Set

The 180 degree full curve was sold as an accessory beginning in 1968.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

1968 box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

1968 box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

1969 box art- back. Courtesy eBay.

1969 box art- back. Courtesy eBay.

Today I am building a custom track using 4 full curves.

Here’s the start:

Full Curve 15

The middle section of the track:

Full Curve 16

And the finish:

Full Curve 17

Now for a run through the track.

Rivited and Maximum Leeway at the start.

Rivited and Maximum Leeway at the start.

They're OFF!

They’re OFF!

Racing across the upper deck of the double decker track.

Racing across the upper deck of the double decker track.

Into the first set of full curves.

Into the first set of full curves.

Charging down the elevated track.

Charging down the elevated track.

Rounding the second set of full curves.

Rounding the second set of full curves.

On the lower deck.

On the lower deck.

Heading for the flag!

Heading for the flag!

Across the finish. A close race!

Across the finish. A close race!

Using these 4 cars…

l to r: blue Maximum Leeway, red Impavido 1, chrome Rivited and plum Teegray.

l to r: blue Maximum Leeway, red Impavido 1, chrome Rivited and plum Teegray.

…here’s my video of this track in action.

So there you have it.  A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Full Curve Drag Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set: Junglenationals

The NHRA (National Hod Rod Association) is the primary organizational body that oversees drag racing. The NHRA Nationals are the premiere events in drag racing that showcase the best cars and drivers; producing the quickest times and fastest speeds.

NHRA logo.

NHRA logo.

The Gatornationals, in Gainesville, Florida, is the traditional East Coast opener for the NHRA season. It was first held in 1970.

Jungle2

It’s logo shows an alligator racing on wheels while holding a steering wheel.

Jungle3

In keeping with this theme, I am running a drag race featuring Hot Wheels’ animal cars.

l to r: blue Hammer Down, chrome/green Croc Rod, red Scorpedo, and orange Sharkcruiser.

l to r: blue Hammer Down, chrome/green Croc Rod, red Scorpedo, and orange Sharkcruiser.

The track is the alternate version of the 1968 Hot Curves Race Action Set. This layout is prominently displayed in the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalogue.

Jungle5Here’s a run down the track.

Croc Rod & Hammer Down staged and ready to go.

Croc Rod & Hammer Down staged and ready to go.

The track ahead.

The track ahead.

Charging down the track.

Charging down the track.

Croc Rod takes the high road and Hammer Down takes the low.

Croc Rod takes the high road and Hammer Down takes the low.

Into the first curves.

Into the first curves.

Out of the half curves.

Out of the half curves.

Down the straightaway.

Down the straightaway.

Hitting the dual full curves.

Hitting the dual full curves.

Round the bend.

Round the bend.

Dropping down on the final straight.

Dropping down on the final straight.

Neck and neck!

Neck and neck!

Here comes the finish.

Here comes the finish.

And this is a video of the Junglenationals.

So there you have it. The NHRA style Junglenationals run on the alternate version of the 1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

 

1968 Hot Wheels Daredevil Loops

For those of us who, in early 1967, could do no better than push our diecast cars along the floor…the thought of running a loop was inconceivable.  But the release of the 1968 Hot Wheels lineup changed everything.  When Hot Wheels arrived on the scene, our days of “pushing” were over.

The Daredevil Loop was mind blowing.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

It was hard to imagine that this was possible.

Box art - front. Close-up.

Box art – front. Close-up.

We would stare at the back of the box in disbelief. But there it was, a picture of a kid setting off a car that would run the track…including the loop…all by itself. Simply amazing!

Box art - back.

Box art – back.

Right off the bat, the loops came in sets. 1968 saw the Stunt Action Set. A single lane track with one loop.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

The following year brought the 1969 Double-Dare Race Action Set. A dual-lane track with one loop in each lane.

A complete Double-Dare Race Action Set. Courtesy eBay.

A complete Double-Dare Race Action Set. Courtesy eBay.

Over the years loops have become a staple in Hot Wheels’ offerings.

Single-lane loop & chute set.

Single-lane Loop & Chute set. Courtesy eBay.

Snake Mountain Challenge. Courtesy eBay.

Snake Mountain Challenge. Courtesy eBay.

loop17

Loop & Launch Mega Pak. Courtesy eBay.

Mongoose & Snake Drag Race Set.

Mongoose & Snake Drag Race Set.

Loop & Splash Set. Courtesy eBay.

Loop & Splash Set. Courtesy eBay.

But it did not stop there. Ultimately, we saw the Double Loop Launch Set with 2 loops, back to back, in a single lane.

loop7

And then there was the Thrill Drivers Corkskrew Set. A dual-lane drag set with 2 loops in each lane.

loop3

Without question, Mattel’s Hot Wheels is king of the loops.  At least that’s what I thought until I saw this on eBay recently.

loop8

A single lane triple loop track from 1970 by Johnny Lightning. The Ricochet series involves tracks where the cars are launched in one direction and then returned in the opposite direction by a second launcher at the other end.

loop9

The other thing that caught my eye is the caption, “Beats them all”! Can a Hot Wheels car do a triple loop? Time to find out.

So there you have it. The 1968 Hot Wheels Daredevil Loop accessory.  The beginning of fast moving diecast cars that could do anything.

And it’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - end

Box art – end

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Accessory Paks from the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors' Catalogue.

Accessory Paks from the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalogue.

Wallpaper from the Hot Wheels collectors.com website. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Wallpaper from the Hot Wheels collectors.com website. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Poster for Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Poster for Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Race Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Race Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Hot Wheels Christmas Dreaming

This may be the influence of “Toy Story” talking but I was imagining what it would be like to be a Hot Wheels car hanging from the Christmas Tree. You’re safe and secure in your blister pack watching the build up of holiday festivities but deep down you can’t wait for Christmas Day to come.

Christmas6

On that day you envision running through a world of Hot Wheels tracks; going for all your worth.

Here’s my Christmas video of 2 Faster Than Ever cars…

A gold Fast Fish.

a gold Fast Fish

A silver Chrysler Firepower Concept.

and a silver Chrysler Firepower Concept

…waiting for Christmas to come.

So there you have it. Hot Wheels and Christmas. A time of anticipation and fun; especially if you’re a Hot Wheels car with big dreams.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1968 ad

Hot Wheels Christmas 1968 ad

Hot Wheels Christmas 1969 catalogue page.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1969 catalogue page.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1970 Catalogue page.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1970 Catalogue page.

Hallmark's 30th anniversary of Hot Wheels decoration featuring a dare-devil loop and a twin mill car.

Hallmark’s 30th anniversary of Hot Wheels decoration featuring a dare-devil loop with a Twin Mill car.

1968 - the beginning of Hot Wheels and Christmas.

1968 – the beginning of Hot Wheels and Christmas.

Team Hot Wheels and Yur-So-Fast decoration.

Team Hot Wheels and Yur-So-Fast decoration.

Hot Wheels Lap Counters

There was a strong emphasis on racing in the early years of Hot Wheels. To make it happen Mattel gave you the equipment for real competition. This includes 3 different lap counters from the first 4 years of Hot Wheels production.

It all starts off in 1969 with the single-lane Automatic Lap Counter.  You get 99 laps out of it and the return to “00” signifies lap 100.

Lap Counter 1

Lap Counter 4

Close up of activity in the observation tower.

Close up of activity in the observation tower.

For proper storage the one’s column must be on 0.

LC1

It doesn’t matter what the ten’s column is showing. If you have a lap counter that has been sitting for the past 40+ years on a number in the one’s column that isn’t zero, then you find that the ten’s column malfunctions.

Fortunately there’s a quick fix for this:

For 1970 the dual-lane Lap Counter came out. You get 20 laps counted in 2 lanes.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

Box art - back.

Box art – back.

For proper storage the counters should both be showing “20”.

Stored with counters on the 20s.

Stored with counters on the 20s.

Anything less (and zero is the worst) means the spring mechanisms have been under tension for the past 4+ decades and will have stretched out. Then you’ll probably find that it works fine up to lap 16 or so, but the last 3 or 4 laps just won’t register.

Fixing this is problematic because you have to break into the glue-sealed case without causing major damage.

Finally, in 1971, we get the Sizzlers Lap Computer.

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

This slick device works on Fat Track and counts 100 laps for 4 cars.  It is done by tunnelling the Sizzlers cars into a single lane where antennas on the back of each car tick off every lap for a given lane.  The triggers for counting laps are located in the ceiling of the Lap Computer tunnel. After lap 99 comes the checkered flag.

For proper storage, all lanes should be showing checkered flags.

Stored with all 4 lanes showing checkered flags.

Stored with all 4 lanes showing checkered flags.

This is much like the dual-lane lap counter because the rewind springs are in the least tension when the checkered flags are visible.  If you buy one of these that has the zeros showing, then 40+ years of storage will have stretched the springs and you will get decent counting up to lap 90 or so, but the last 10 (and certainly the last 2 or 3) laps will not register.  It’s tough to be leading a 100 lap race only to get stuck on lap 97.

Repairing these is also very difficult because you have to break into the heavily glued sides of the lap computer.

So there you have it.  Lap counters from 1969 to 1971. Let the racing begin.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Here are the instructions for each lap counter.

IMG_1250

Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions - Step 1.

Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions – Step 1.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 2 & 3.

Back of Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions.

Back of Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions.

Lap Computer - front.

Lap Computer – front.

12

Step 1.

Step 1.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 4 & 5.

Steps 4 & 5.

Last page.

Last page.